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Law firm not allowed to break ties with Kanye West via newspaper ads

By | Published on Thursday 26 January 2023

Kanye West

A US judge has told law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP that it needs to try a little bit harder to formally cut its ties with Kanye West through conventional channels. The lawyers had proposed they formally drop the rapper as client via newspaper adverts.

Greenberg Traurig is one of various law firms that was keen to stop working for West as he started to issue ever more controversial and offensive statements last year. At the time it was working for the rapper on an uncleared sample lawsuit in relation to his ‘Donda 2’ track ‘Flowers’.

The judge overseeing the sample case, Analisa Torres, granted Greenberg Traurig’s motion to withdraw from the sample litigation at the end of November, but also ordered the law firm to personally serve West with a ‘withdrawal order’ that stated it is no longer representing him in the case.

Earlier this month Greenberg Traurig wrote to Torres saying that it was struggling to locate West in order to hand over the withdrawal order. The firm said that it didn’t know where he was currently living, the phone number they had for him was no longer working, and any West representatives they previously dealt with have also now broken their ties with the rapper.

With that in mind, it asked the judge for permission to formally end its relationship with West via less conventional methods.

First, it would send the withdrawal order to two addresses in California where lawyers working on another case involving West reckon he might be residing. And second, it would publish adverts in two LA newspapers telling West it is no longer representing him in the ‘Flowers’ litigation.

However, Torres reckons that the lawyers at Greenberg Traurig haven’t yet exhausted all the potential conventional methods for serving the withdrawal order.

She said earlier this week that the law firm’s efforts to date to locate West do not yet prove that serving the withdrawal order directly to the rapper was “impracticable”.

She also wasn’t convinced that newspaper ads would be a particularly effective way to reach West, presumably because he doesn’t come across as a particularly avid consumer of local journalism.

The judge then suggested that the lawyers should consider conducting database searches or hire a private investigator to locate West. Or, you know, maybe they could just pay one of the photographers that snapped these images of the rapper this weekend to serve the papers.

Greenberg Traurig now has until 15 Feb to try to get its withdrawal order into West’s hands. It remains to be seen if the lawyers manage that – or whether they’ll be back in court again seeking approval for more innovative methods of delivery, newspaper ad based or otherwise.